WikiLeaks is taking a stand against the financial institutions that have halted the organization’s majority of funding.
WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing organization, has announced an intent to sue global payment processors Visa and MasterCard, alleging an “unlawful, U.S. influenced, financial blockade.”
Since December of 2010, the non-profit organization has been barred from receiving donations through Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union, and Bank of America®. WikiLeaks suffered a $15 million loss in revenue as 90% of its donations were blocked.
The companies validated the suspension of payments to the document-spilling organization over concerns that it violated the law in the manner that it obtained and exposed top secret information on the web.
WikiLeaks stressed that Timothy Geithner, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, did not add the organization to the U.S. financial embargo list because there were no lawful grounds to do so.
“[The blockade] is against the associative rights and economic rights of every VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Bank of America® account holder, who have been prevented from supporting the organization of their choices,” said WikiLeaks in a June 28 release.
A statement of legal action states that WikiLeaks and its credit card processing partner, DataCell, found the group action to be a violation of the Competition Rules of the European Union (Article 101(1) and 102). It also notes Danish merchant law violations when the companies terminated payment services and refused to reinstate them.
Infringement of the competitions rules of the EU may result in a penalty equal to 10% of the revenue of the companies involved. Additionally, the defendants may be subject to lawsuits in most jurisdictions within the EU for damages.
PayPal, Western Union, and Bank of America® were not stated as defendants in the legal action.
Here is a video that WikiLeaks created as a spoof to MasterCard commercials: